The Fake Boys interview The Young Leaves
What’s everyone’s name and what do they play?
C: My name is Christopher. I write songs and play the guitar and sing.
R: I’m Rico. I tear up the skinz.
L: I’m Lindsey. I play bass.
How has your line-up changed over the past 7 years, and where are ex-members now?
C: Well, I started this band in 2006 when I was 17 years old. At first it was just me, recording songs by myself, playing all the instruments and stuff. Since then, we’ve had seven different bassists, three drummers, and at one point we even had a second guitarist for a few months. From 2006 to 2008, I played with my friend Simon on drums and another dude named Andy on bass. When Andy quit, my friend Pete, aka Pillow Man Pete, from Worcester joined up on bass and played with us until 2011. That period from 2009 to 2011 with Simon and Pete was pretty awesome – we recorded a couple 7″s, a full-length LP, did our first touring together etc. It was great. However, when Simon and I graduated from college he decided to leave and start working full-time and Pete shortly followed suit. After that, I took a break and I started working on some demos. Fortunately, I went to Best Buy to buy some computer parts and I met Rico while I was checking out (laughs).
R: When I joined in late 2011, I had my good friend John also join in playing bass. Around October of 2012 we’d parted ways with John, and our friend David (who now plays in Poison Ivy League) played bass for us. As of April-ish, Lindsey started slapping the low strings. We went to high school together, and Christopher and her used to work together. It was a natural fit. Ask her about what to eat and she’ll change your life.
Your new record Alive and Well rips. Can you give me an idea about a theme or feeling behind the songs?
C: Alive and Well was written as a direct response to an awfully painful loss I endured about a year ago. I had been in a relationship with someone from the time I was 16 until I was 24. We went to high school and college together, and it was all supposed to work out. But then it ended, and I had no clue who I was, what I was supposed to be doing, and what my future held. I had never experienced that kind of “pain” before in my life, and the only way I felt like I could deal with it was by writing songs. In a way, the title track describes it all: falling in love at 16 years old and then, 8 years later, getting your old sweatshirt back after being told that you’re not loved anymore while sitting in a Starbucks parking lot. Although I wrote it with my own very specific feelings in mind, I think it’s accessible because who hasn’t gotten their heart shit on before?
I didn’t realize until I read it online, but the vocals remind me a lot of Elvis Costello, who is one of my favorites. Christopher, do you mind the comparison? What other bands/people would you choose to compare The Young Leaves to, before some Internet reviewer gets it all wrong?
C: Being compared to Elvis Costello is ridiculously flattering to me. My father had me growing up on guys like him and Joe Jackson since I was a little kid, so I totally embrace that and definitely think it’s accurate. I think our sound is a combination of those early Costello/Jackson records and our love for 80’s SST post-hardcore like Dinosaur Jr. and Husker Du. Throw in a heaping dose of Archers of Loaf and 90’s era Weezer and you’ve pretty much got us figured out. Oh, we also collectively love Sleep, Helmet, and Electric Wizard. So maybe a tiny bit of that as well.
R: As long as we get compared to Nas’ Illmatic at some point, someone will get it.
What does everybody do when they’re not playing music?
C: I work in human services full-time, primarily helping mentally disabled adults. When I’m not doing that or Leaves related stuff, I’m typically playing/watching basketball, enjoying stand-up comedy, or playing video games. Very average dude.
R: I’m a full time student and fix computers for work. Other than that I try to skateboard, ride my bike, and watch sports. I pretend to be a beer aficionado as well.
L: I work at a café, make jewelry, and listen to stoner metal.
Popular music seems to have hit a low point as far as originality and what constitutes mass appeal. Do you feel like underground music is floundering or flourishing at this moment in time?
L: Definitely flourishing. I think this “low point” that is hitting popular music is just further driving independent artists to be more creative and experimental. I think underground music, by its very nature will always be flourishing because it is so free form and ever changing. As long as there’s plenty of originality in underground scenes, they’ll stay strong.
C: I think underground music is flourishing in a sense that there are a ton of bands and a variety of different scenes that exist.
R: I’ve been seeing some awesome independent bands getting recognition as of lately. Diamond Youth and Sundials stick out as some for me. I’ll remember 20 other bands right when I finish this though.
(In reference to the previous question) where do The Leaves fit in? Are you trying to take over the music world, because the songs are definitely good enough to do so, or are you just having a good ol time?
C: I believe in our songs and what we’re doing, but I don’t believe that the chances of us “blowing up” are very high. Mainly, there are just so many fucking bands nowadays, and with the Internet being so powerful and so accessible; it makes it easy for bands to get overlooked. Because of our lives and jobs, we’re not allowed that freedom to just tour nonstop and wake people up. At this point, I’m writing songs to make my life worth living and I play them with Rico and Lindsey because I love both of them and they inspire me.
R: Personally, I just love playing music and I love the music that we play. If people want to see us, then we’ll keep playing. I think that we all agree that playing music for a living would quite literally be “living the dream.”
L: I think having a good time is very important and you can definitely take over the music world at the same time. Once the fun is gone, so is the passion for the music. I think that’s such an important aspect to our music and to punk music in general. We all come to band practice and it’s like a really fun break from our hectic lives. It is, really, what keeps us going.
Future plans, short and long-term?
R: Keep writing, keep playing fun shows, try and do weekends/tours as often as possible.
C: Short-term: play Fest, enjoy the release of our new record. Long-term: write more records and tour more without losing our jobs.
C: At 6’6″, 255 lbs., with the game of a prime Larry Johnson, I’m all for dealing with relentless D by dunking over and through anything that stands in my way. Let’s do this!
R: I play dirty and I drive like a bull. Bring it. Call me Young Larry.
The Young Leaves interview The Fake Boys
For those who have never heard The Fake Boys before, how would you describe yourselves both musically… and physically?
Both musically and physically: THICK, warm, mean, honest, dead serious, and sweet.
What are your collective top-5 favorite video games of all time?
Zelda: Ocarina Of Time obviously number one. After that if we had to put all our favorites together and narrow them down it would be in no particular order: Elder Scrolls Oblivion, Fallout 3, Rayman Origins, and Mass Effect 3.
Superchunk or Superdrag? Why?
Superdrag’s song writing is far superior. Every record is a banger, every song a smash hit. Superchunk is great; they just don’t move me in the same way.
Jim and Joe, what are your current guitar and bass rigs like nowadays?
Jim: Musicman 112rd through a makeshift cab loaded with Celestion v-30s and Eminence red coats. My baby Les Paul Jr with p90s and my back up guitar is a custom made Strat with p90s and a Fender pre cbs neck. I have fun with an MXR phase90 and an Atlas effects True North light overdrive pedal.
Joe: I’m playing a Sunn Coliseum bass through 2 Sunn 118 cabs with their original Cerwin Vegas, a modded Squier pbass, dirt pedals and feedback.
Since the band started the goal has always been to be our own favorite band. A lot of people have said that’s conceited, but why else would you do this? We love the old records; they are what a band beginning to grow sounds like. If there’s any drastic difference between then and now, which we don’t think there is, it’s that we now know how to do what we really want to do without worrying about anyone else liking it. We are only out to please ourselves. Through the accumulation of Life XP we have leveled up to a point where we don’t have a style to fit into, and no scene to let down.
What are your plans for the end of 2013 and the upcoming 2014 year?
To keep on writing, and putting out the best records we can. The beginning of 2013 was our least productive time as a band by far. We had our long time drummer really fuck us over and bail on us last year, so our good friend Matt really helped us out by stepping up and filling in. He learned our set super quick and came on the road with us in a pinch. After that we had tons of ideas and inspiration and just wanted to relax on touring and stay home and write the next record. There was a lot of time that went by and nothing much was getting done. He had a lot of work and life obligations and didn’t want to be in a band for serious. We were a little worried about the future of the band honestly, until Keith, the engineer and owner of Labyrinth Audio where we recorded our split with Old Flings, offered to drum. Once we jammed together, it was like magic. He was the best drummer we had ever played with, and he contributes to the writing and arrangement of songs and is fully dedicated. He only joined the band a couple months ago and we pretty much have the entire new record written. There’s a super limited demo tape of a couple new jams floating around and I think it gives a very good indication of how things are gonna be on the next record.
Favorite place to eat on tour?
That’s basically our secret motive for touring: visiting all the amazing places to eat across the country. Melt in Ohio is at the top of the list. In Colorado you can’t do better than Illegal Pete’s for burritos, plus they’re super cool to touring musicians. Pizza Ranch is a hidden gem, only in a couple obscure states, but the best fried chicken ever if you ignore the evangelical Christian propaganda all over the walls. If we don’t have any money, then it’s dumpstering pizzas and hanging out in mall food courts like vultures, jumping on people’s wasted leftovers.
If for some inexplicable reason you were forced to only listen to ONE record for an entire year, which would it be? Do you think after an entire year of listening to it that you’d be able to appreciate it ten years from now? How deep is this question?
I was gonna say the white album instinctively because of its incredible variation and originality, it would have enough variety to never get old. But I think the answer is truly rocket to Russia. It’s a perfect record. I’ve been listening to it every day since I was 3 or 4 thanks to my dad so I don’t think its possible to not appreciate it. I’ll die with that record.
Not a question, but a statement: Pig Factory was the best record released in 2012. Thank you for making great music. I love you.
Love you too my man.